Teens come together to save lives - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

No seatbelt, drunk driving contribute to MS teen deaths

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Last year 67 teens across the state died because either they didn't buckle up or chose to drink and drive. (Source: MDOT) Last year 67 teens across the state died because either they didn't buckle up or chose to drink and drive. (Source: MDOT)
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

More than 2,300 Mississippi teenagers with a common goal packed the Jackson Coliseum Thursday morning, all of them with a common goal. One of them is Noxubee County High School's Jalyn Conner.

"In anything I do I try to be a leader and I want to impact others so they will make the correct decisions also," said Conner.

Those decisions are being spelled out at this year's Teens on the Move conference where the focus is on highway safety. From driving distractions like texting and talking to driving dangers like drinking and no seatbelt, the entire event is put on by teens like Conner who want fellow students to make the right choices on the road.

"At my school and in my community we have people doing the wrong things daily and weekly. To see those effects of what they do, it just makes the driver harder to prevent it in others," said Conner.

Last year 67 teens across the state died because either they didn't buckle up or chose to drink and drive. Tawni Basden says that's 67 too many. Basden is the youth programs director with DREAM INC. which helps put on the conference.

"Fun doesn't have to come in a bottle and when they're driving that car can become a weapon. They need to focus while they're driving and have defensive driving skills,"said Basden.

With prom and graduation season gearing up, Basden says by engaging teens with teens the overall message of making the right decisions tends to sink in a little better.

"I can tell them, their parents can tell them but they're not going to listen as well as if they've heard it from their peers," said Basden.

"They need to buckle up. They need to take those measures not to drink and drive and to protect their friends as well," said Conner.

The teens on the move conference is now in its 24th year and doubled in size from last year. It's funded by the Office of Highway Safety.

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